This Is What It Feels Like To Have Dyslexia

One in five people suffers from dyslexia, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. If you aren’t one of them, it can be difficult to empathize with precisely what dyslexic people experience while reading. Developer Victor Widell created a website that simulates dyslexia and allows visitors to experience the learning disorder firsthand.

Widell’s website describes a friend who presumably inspired the coding project. Widell wrote:

“A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading. She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seem to ‘jump around.’”

The site tries to replicate this aspect of the dyslexic experience, in particular, when letters appear to switch places or “jump around,” as Widell described.

Victor Widell –

Dyslexia Is A Serious Issue.

Dyslexic people have varied experiences, however, not all of which are depicted on Widell’s site. “Some readers see words or letters that appear incomplete, backwards or upside-down, or they may have difficulty differentiating certain letters,” the Huffington Post explained. They may also struggle to sound out words, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Still, the disorder is often joked about or made light of rather than addressed seriously.

One Twitter user wrote:

While dyslexia is the most common reading disability, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, it is a serious problem and is often undiagnosed in public schools. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity reported:

“While there are numerous curricula and programs designed to increase literacy, dyslexia is often overlooked when searching for causes of illiteracy. Dyslexia is the most common reading disability—20% of the population is struggling with this hidden disability, and many remain undiagnosed, untreated, and struggling with the impact of their dyslexia. The diagnosis and treatment remain elusive in public schools, and even more so in urban school populations, and African American and Latino communities.”

Celebrities have also come out about their experiences with dyslexia.

Orlando Bloom gave a lecture on dyslexia at the Child Mind Institute in New York City in 2011, according to the Huffington Post.

“I was frustrated with that learning disability,” Bloom explained in the lecture. “It makes you feel stupid.”

“I had to work three times as hard to get two-thirds of the way,” he added.

Cher has previously tweeted about her experience growing up with the disorder:

In an interview with Barbara Walters, actor Patrick Dempsey shared his experience with dyslexia, according to the Dyslexia Help Center at the University of Michigan. Dempsey said he still struggled with reading scripts off the page as an adult. “I think that’s when I get the most insecure … it’s very hard for me to read it off the page,” he said. “I need to memorize it, in order to go on.”

It’s given me a perspective of — you have to keep working,” Dempsey added. “I have never given up.”

To get a closer look at the dyslexic experience, you can try out Widell’s simulation on his website.